Author Archives: Californian Mum in London

About Californian Mum in London

Hey! I'm a California gal who moved to London in 2002 to be with my British bloke. Come read about my adventures living in London, being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, coping with a tea and cake addiction and trying to assimilate into British life. Don't know where I belong, but can't imagine living anywhere else.

Tom hates bedtime. It is so boring. But one night he hears a noise outside. There are girl pirates trying to steal the front of his house (to disguise their pirate ship, obviously). Tom and the fearless girl pirates embark on an adventure to find the naughty grown-up pirates who have been going around town stealing priceless objects. And this is the story of The Night Pirates, now on at the Rose Theatre Kingston.

Yesterday I took Dubz and Moozles to Kingston to watch this fearless and fun family show. Dubz is five so he loves all things pirates. At nine, Moozles was not fussed about going until she found out that there were girl pirates. We love a bit of girl power so we were excited to see some females taking charge.

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My son had a birthday party at Hobbledown today, so we all went. It's been about a year since the last time we were all there (we normally split up for birthday parties). Last year, Dubz was just about to begin Reception and I remember being so nervous and excited for this big step in his life.

Today, things felt different. Dubz is so much more confident than he was a year ago. Today we took advantage of the sunshine to run around the high ropes and the soft play. As we were leaving, I snapped this photo of Moozles and Dubz. The light looked so lovely. And the kids looked quite sweet and a bit grown-up.

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My family had our first Eurocamp holiday in May (we went to La Garangeoire). Beforehand, I spent ages googling what to pack. We didn't do traditional camping as we stayed in a holiday home. This meant that we didn't have to take everything. But I wanted to pack wisely so that the car wasn't overly, and uncomfortably, full. So I thought I would offer my own Packing Checklist for any of you planning to visit Eurocamp.

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Husband has been desperate to visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for ages. I wasn't really sure if Moozles and Dubz would enjoy a day looking at old boats, so I had been putting it off. But I thought that this summer would be the right time to have go for a visit. Dubz is now five and Moozles is nine, both at an age where they enjoy learning and don't throw that many tantrums. So a couple of weeks ago, we drove down to Portsmouth.

When I hear 'dockyard', I think of water and boats, but the thoughts aren't very exciting. I have to say that the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was more than I was expecting. Before you arrive into the dockyard, you see the HMS Warrier 1860 looking quite grand on the water. When you enter the docks, you can choose what you want to do first. We went to the HMS Victory as we thought it would be less busy in the morning. Husband has quite a few memories of visiting the dockyard as a child and was keen to see the Victory again. So we climbed aboard and explored the ship.

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There's something about August. It's technically still summer but thoughts have turned to autumn. And that means that I've started updating our autumn/winter wardrobes. And like most mums, I make the kids' clothes the priority. Besides our favourite places, I love trying out new shops. Preferably online, as that is where I do most of my shopping. So when Angel & Rocket got in touch, I couldn't wait to see their clothes in real life.

Moozles wears a lot of casual clothes. While her brother prefers shirts and bowties, she likes baggy dresses and shorts. But I knew she would love the Imogen Tweed Blazer and the coordinating Linzi Tweed Shorts and Tights. It is smart, but not fussy or frilly. The blazer is cut extremely well, and the shorts have a waistband making it perfect for those with smaller waists. While the blazer and shorts look great together, they would also look lovely separately.

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Last week was my 42nd birthday. And while it is not traditionally thought of as a significant birthday - I think all birthdays are special. So we packed the kids off to their grandparents for a few days, and Husband and I enjoyed the sites and restaurants of London. Regular readers may remember that we spent my birthday in York last year. We had so much fun, but this year we thought we'd enjoy the capital city.

On Friday, my actual birthday, Husband booked us a table at Bob Bob Ricard. It is a Russian restaurant, elegantly decorated. Rather than normal tables, they have booths, and each booth comes with a 'Press for Champagne' button. As you can imagine, it is a popular place for Champagne-lovers. As the restaurant is quite over-the-top, I wanted some dramatic make-up. One of my nieces works at Laura Mercier at the Bentall Centre in Kingston and she booked me in for a makeover.

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We are more than halfway through the summer holidays. And while I find the first two weeks always goes smoothly, the third week gets a bit tense. And if the weather is rainy, it seems to make things worse. We're all getting a bit sick of one another, and I can't seem to get anything done. So on a day of craziness and non-stop fighting, I  booked Moozles and Dubz onto Fit For Sport.

First of all, let me be clear. My nine-year old daughter does not like holiday camps. Or actually, she doesn't like the thought of them. Moozles would rather spend the day lazing about in bed reading books or watching Netflix on the iPad. But my five year old son needs constant exercise. And truhtfully, so does my daughter, though she doesn't realise it. In fact, I think most children are happier when they've spent a lot of time walking, running and climbing around.

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I had always said that Moozles could get her ears pierced when she turned 11. It is quite an arbitrary number, but it seemed to be a popular ear-piercing age for many British children. In the past year, Moozles has been asking to get her ears pierced. And personally, I think that kids can get their ears pierced as soon as they are able to take care of them themselves. So I told her that she could get her ears pierced this summer.

I expected Moozles to get scared and change her mind, but she had her mind set on getting earrings. So on Friday, after their last swimming class of the summer, I took the kids to Claire's in Kingston-upon-Thames. Moozles picked out which earrings she wanted, and she squeezed the life out of my hand. And in under 30 seconds, she had pierced ears. Moozles is now cleaning and turning her earrings three times a day. And they should be healed in three weeks, just in time for school. It feels like quite a milestone, for her and for me. My little girl is growing up.

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Dining in London is equally difficult and easy. On one hand, you have a huge array of restaurants to choose from. On the other hand, there are a huge array of restaurants to choose from. The choice can be overwhelming. There are a few websites and apps out there that help find restaurants in London, but I've recently come across a new app with a twist. I recently booked a meal, and paid with it using Cake.

Let me be clear. I didn't bake a cake and use it to pay for my meal. Obviously that would be amazing. What I did was to download the Cake app onto my smartphone and use it when I was meeting up with a girlfriend a few weeks ago. Now booking a restaurant isn't tough, but Cake offers more than that.

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We don't go to many shows as a family. I either go with my 9-year old daughter or my husband. My son is quite fidgety and cannot sit for more than an hour. I can't tell you how many shows we've endured with me silently screaming at him to stop kicking the seat in front. So when we were invited to view The Wind in the Willows at Kew Gardens, I was excited to see a show with no proper seats.

Once you arrive at Kew Gardens (Victoria Gate), there is a 10-minute walk to the beginning of the show. We spread out our picnic blanket, and waited for the first part of the show. Husband is not a fan of sitting on the ground, so he sat at the back on a camping chair we had brought. I let the kids eat half of their sandwiches, because it is obviously very tough not to start eating lunch at 10.30am.

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